Rumar dreams of a better way
Today Rumar is cooking cauliflower and potato mash with rice and greens. At 22 years old she is responsible for preparing and cooking meals for her family of five. Like many women in her village in Dinajpur, Bangladesh, she faces real challenges in the home.
Her kitchen is only 3.4 sqm and is built on a raised earthen plinth which she protects from the driving rain as best she can. Without walls and a leaky roof, things are difficult in the monsoon.
Rumar makes and repairs her stove using a mix of earth and water. She worries about the open flames when her children are near and shows us burns she’s suffered from cooking this way. Her kitchen has flooded numerous times and burnt to the ground a few years ago due to a fire that escalated. There is no electricity or piped water supply.
Her family can afford to buy a small amount of jute sticks and wood to fuel the stove every month, but when this runs out Rumar gathers leaves and twigs to keep it going. This wet material produces a lot of smoke. She cooks on a small stool, at least for now she is not in too much discomfort. Rumar’s village is in one of the poorest regions of the country. Saving for home improvements is a struggle but she dreams of a better way - a kitchen that is safe and comfortable, a space that doesn’t fill the air with black smoke, a space she would enjoy cooking in.
In rural Bangladesh women spend much of their day in the home and within the kitchen, yet they are often not involved in its design. Their perspective is crucial. Kitchens are dark, cramped, unhygienic and poorly ventilated, contributing to chronic and acute health effects including lung cancer and diarrhoeal disease. They are leftover spaces despite the fact they are used from morning till night.
Heart of the home works with women like Rumar to co-design solutions that will improve their health and wellbeing. We believe Rumar holds the answers to the challenges she faces.
Visit https://azuko.org/heart-of-the-home to find out more about Heart of the home
The right to play
Our work with JAAGO Foundation in Bangladesh centres around the importance of play for children’s development. The brief is to design a playground which incorporates a range of learning opportunities in a richly rewarding place.
“We believe play is far more than letting off steam and is a fundamental right of all children, everywhere."
We've been addressing our assumptions head on… what does play mean in a Bangladesh context? What do playscapes look like? What games do children play?
Who better to ask than the students themselves. Meet Ridoy, he's 6 years old.
Ridoy is the youngest of three children, and lives with his mother and father. His family make icecream and at the weekends he sometimes joins them to sell door to door. From Monday to Friday he attends kindergarten class at one of JAAGO's schools. He's learning the Bangla alphabet, English, maths and art… and dreams of becoming a doctor one day.
Ridoy loves to play games with his friends, everything from 'pani e ebong' (ice-water) which is similar to the British game of stuck in the mud and 'ilish ilish' (fish fish) a two team game involving tiptoeing and guessing who dun'it, to the widely played Bangladeshi favourite 'kutkut' which is a variant of hopscotch.
… but his real favourite is cricket.
We’ll be designing with Ridoy in mind. Find out more about our JAAGO playspace project https://azuko.org/jaago-playspace.
Our latest annual report has been released!
Exciting news- we've published our 2019/20 annual report!
Find out what we've been up to, and read more about our current projects at http://bit.ly/azuko-annual-report-2020